Storyteller, Part 2


In this continuing blog post series, I’m sharing with all of you the behind the scenes snippets of how my novels came to be.


“Loving Emma”, my second book, was published in 2015. At the time, I hadn’t planned on “Losing Faith” being nothing more than a standalone book. But as I wrote it, I realized the main character, Grace, wasn’t the only character suffering after the loss of Faith. Book 2 features Grace’s brother/Faith’s fiancé, Liam. In “Losing Faith”, Liam is more of a strong, supportive character, but in “Loving Emma” we truly see his downward spiral after the loss of his great love, and how he’s hidden his pain from his sister.


My muse for Liam was actor, Alex O’Loughlin (in looks only). At first, I really had no idea how Liam’s story would evolve, but I did know I wanted him to eventually find love again. As with the previous book, I inserted a little of myself/my life into the story (which I still do this day). Emma, Liam’s love interest is Italian (as am I). She owns a bakery (I once worked in a bakery), and Liam’s favorite sweet of hers is cannoli (my hubby’s favorite dessert). I liked that Emma was strong and independent, and that she had no trouble standing up to Liam’s initial gruff behavior.


I had always wondered how someone learned to love again after a loss like that, which is why it was important to me to show that Liam’s journey was not easy. He didn’t plan on falling for Emma, and in his mind no one could compare with Faith. But eventually he began to see that loving Emma did not change his love for Faith, and nothing – and no one – could ever take that away from him.


“Losing Faith” didn’t sell a lot of copies, but I had high hopes for “Loving Emma”. After some inner turmoil, I decided to publish this book through AuthorHouse Publishing too. And by the end of the process, I began to regret ever sharing my work on this platform. I paid thousands of dollars to AuthorHouse and saw no real reader traffic. Sure, I might have been duped, but as I look back now I think it was a good stepping-stone for me and one that I had to take in order to be where I am today.


As with the first book, I had no real outline or specific details for Liam’s story. I knew what he looked like, and vaguely what Emma looked like as well, but the story itself evolved organically, one word at a time. Moose, Grace’s buddy in book 1, became a true friend for Liam in this book. During the writing process, I wanted to show readers snippets of Grace’s life too and it felt important to me to show readers that she found a lifelong love in Ryan. I enjoy weaving characters from book to book, and to this day I continue to do so.


Honestly, I don’t remember a whole lot about the publishing of this book. It happened so quickly after “Losing Faith”, I think I just got caught up in the excitement of it all. One thing that differed about this book was that it was more of family project. My husband and parents helped me to choose the cover and the name of the book. I had gotten some positive feedback over the first book, so I went into this expecting the same. Honestly, I went into publishing as a whole with blinders on, expecting the world to embrace my work just as I had.


I’m happy to have told Liam’s story, and to have shown readers that you can rise above terrible heartbreak. As a main character, I really like Liam. He’s broken and battered, lonely and angry, but a real good guy overall. He’s a man conflicted, a man who struggles with his demons, a man strong enough to take the good with the bad. He has so many layers, which in itself was an improvement for me as a writer. I’m proud of his story, and I suppose that’s all that really matters.

-AJ

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